by Joshua Pagé
SWIFT CURRENT - As newly voted premier Brad Wall walked the black carpet to his podium, the song "Big Bad Wolf" blared through the speakers as a joke, and the sounds of cheering and plastic noisemakers filled the Stockade Building to near deafening levels.
Within three minutes of his speech, Wall thanked his family and poked fun at the NDP's labelling of himself as a "big bad wolf."
"When that one commercial would come on the tv with the sheep and the wolf, my kids would point out to me, 'Dad, I think you're the wolf,'" said a grinning Wall.
He pressed the idea that "hope beats fear," and by the end, had his audience of hundreads saying it with him.
"We're on the verge of Saskatchewan taking its rightful place at the vanguard of this country, leading the west and leading Canada," said Wall.
The Saskatchewan Party won 37 seats, leaving the NDP with 21.
In his concession speech, NDP leader Lorne Calvert said "The people of our province have spoken; they have said it was time for change."
Wall, a Swift Current native, had massive support from his home riding, and many attending his rally believe a new government is necessary for the province.
"We thought it was time for a change. We're tired of the fear factor and the lack of progress in the province," said Terry New, a retired crown corporations worker of 37 years. "We just want to see big things happen and we got a young guy in here."
"Brad Wall is the man to do it. I think he is the man to do all the changes," said Rupa Krishna, an engineer who has lived in Saskatchewan for five years.
"A lot of people in this province, specifically the young people and the people that want our young people to come back and to stay here, want to see some change," said Joanne Cheiffer, an employee in post-secondary education. "I think some of the progress that has happened in the province has almost been in spite of the government.
However, local Sask. Party backers weren't the only ones turning out to support Wall. Federal Conservative MP David Anderson was also in the crowd.
"Saskatchewan has been held back for a long time and we're not in the situation Alberta is in, and that's been due to political decisions that have been made over the years," said Anderson. "It's an exciting night to have the premier come from a riding within my own riding."
Swift Current resident Nelson Pompooth agreed with the need for change to better Saskatchewan's economy.
"Conservative-type governments have always been the ones that have encouraged and promoted enterprise into developing. And if you really want to create jobs, socialism doesn't create the kind of jobs conservative-type governments have been able to create," said Pompooth.
After his address tonight, Wall told reporters he plans to get to work immediately, but would not specify exactly what he meant.
(Photo by Joshua Pagé)